Agri-Tech Week 2018: Solving the challenges of crop protection

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Professor John Senior, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Enterprise, introduces the event
Professor John Senior, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Enterprise, introduces the event

This event at the University of Hertfordshire explored the innovative and cutting edge solutions being developed to improve crop protection in the face of environmental change.

The University of Hertfordshire works collaboratively with farmers, crop protection and plant breeding companies, government research bodies and agricultural charities, and the event emphasised that research is strongly linked to industry needs.

Some of these collaborations were the focus of discussion at the event, including: understanding interactions between light leaf spot and phoma stem canker in oil seed rape (ADAS, RSK, Uni of Herts); identifying resistance to phoma stem canker and light leaf spot (Uni of Herts, KWS); potato cycst nematode diagnostics (Syngenta and Uni of Herts through Keith Davie’s start up); and an automated smart trap for wheat pathogen detection which is near commercialisation (Uni of Hert, Bayer, FERA).

A number of cross sector initiatives were present at the event, such as Hertfordshire Science Partnership, which is involved in delivering healthy and sustainable food economy in Letchworth Garden City.

Also represented was The Green Triangle, a partnership between BRE, Rothamsted Research, St Albans City and District Council and Oaklands College, and discussion focused on how they are looking to promote green industries and sustainability (for example agriculture, environmental, construction etc).

A prime example of the application of a technology used in one discipline (in this case from the Physics Department) to agriculture is the use of optical remote sensing technology (LIDAR) for agriculture e.g. bio-forecasting. It could also be used for mapping water flow and monitoring soil erosion. LIDAR is extensively used for mapping in archaeology, and although it is still at proof-of-concept stage it sounds very exciting.

The event concluded with a tour of the University’s New Science Building; Laura Bouvet commented “Thank you very much for the tour – It was great to learn about exciting research on spore traps, genetic resistance against OSR diseases and nematode control.”

The afternoon concluded with a tour of the New Science Building

The afternoon concluded with a tour of the New Science Building

 

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© Agri-Tech East 2018